Remembering Jay Ilagan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Exceptional and Versatile – “…Speaking of Jay Ilagan, he was the local film industry’s most talented teen actor in the ’70s, and directing him was a breeze. Coming from the Ylagan family of theater and film artists, he had great genes and instinctively knew how to approach every role assigned to him. He was also versatile, essaying different roles (drama, comedy, musical, action) with ease and believability. Sensing this, we restricted our direction of his scenes to simple suggestions, plus a little tweaking here and there. Later, Jay would go from one thespic success to another, and his stellar future was exceedingly bright – until he gained weights. His plumpness promted his mentor, Lino Brocka, to pull him out of “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” and replace him with new discovery, Christopher de Leon. Ditto for “Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” where Jay was replaced by Bembol Roco. Jay’s loss was definitely Christopher and Bembol’s gain. But, we submit that the industry suffered a great loss when Jay’s stellar career lost its luster, because it was deprived of his exceptional and versatile talent…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Nov 24, 2007 (READ MORE)

Amy’s Love “…When Amy addressed some 40 guests at the True Riches Ministry (which meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Fusion Cafe, Greenbelt, Makati), she started off with the question, “Those who know Jay Ilagan, raise their hands.: And then she talked about the man she never stopped loving. When you hear her story, at many points she sounds like people you know who aren’t stars. When she talks of how she loved Jay, she reminds you of a friend who tended to love too much. When she talks of life after Jay (whe she yearned for another partner in life), she sounds like single-parent friends of yours who also want to setle down. Sometimes she sounds like a typical working mother, struggling hard to make ends meet. At other times, she reminds you of a troubled friend who had wrestled with drugs. All your friends, married or single, at one point in time-were Amy Austria. And she talks most candidly about it. Amy captivated the crowd without even reading a acript!…Then Amy fell in love and lived with Jay for nine years. “Although we weren’t married, I did everything for him. I quit show biz and was his barber, masahista, nurse and doctor. I was a handyman, I even did carpentry. But I couldn’t save him from death. When Jay died on Feb. 4, 1992, Amy wanted to die too. She would comfort herself by thinking, “Atleast, I love him completely.” But today she advises differently: “Never love nang todo,” she says, “It’s like idolatry…” – Mona Gonzalez, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 18, 2002 (READ MORE)

The Actor – “…And because the looks came with deep talent, Jay survived the transition from teen star to adult actor-winning a Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actor trophy in 1982 for the movie, Kisapmata, another Gawad Urian Best Actor in 1985 for his role in Sister Stella L, and 1988 FAMAS and Film Academy of the Philippines Best Actor for his acting in Maging Akin Ka Lamang. His acting was not confined to drama. Jay was later known as a funny guy, being one of the Bad Bananas gang with Christopher de Leon, Johnny Delgado and Edgar Mortiz. In his personal life, he married actress Hilda Koronel but they eventually separated, and he and actress Amy Austria would live-in together. Jay had remained with Amy until his sudden death on February 3, 1992. On that fateful night in Quezon City, Jay lost control of his motorcycle and skidded to his death. Reports claimed that the actor was not wearing a protective helmet. He was 39. …” – Jaja Rodriguez (READ MORE)

Acting Exercises “…Aside from desperately trying to hold on to his on again – of again relationship with his estranged wife, Hilda Koronel, Jay was also trying to lose weight so he would be fit to tackle any movie role offered to him. He was not successful in keeping Hilda but thanks to his Scarsdale diet, regular workout and discipline, Jay was able to lose all those unwanted pounds. Relieved that he is once more in the world he fits so well in, the former child actor says, “I don’t know of any other job I’d be happy at except show business.” The good news is that Jay has found somebody to replace Hilda in his life: Amy Austria. Still, he and Hilda have remained “good friends” and bear no gudge against each other…Out of Soltero’s 262 sequences, 258 belong to Jay. He has six monologues of roughly 400 feet of film. Still Jay cannot say that he had any big problem doing the movie. “Matagal ang set-up and mostly mood shots and ginagawa namin. Though simple, the script required me to do acting exercises,” he recalls. Asked if he had any difficulty working on the film required him to be on set most of the time, Jay sighs. “Medyo mayroon din. Lagare ako. I was also doing Stella L….” – TV Times Magazine April 29, May 5 1984 (READ MORE)

The Footsteps of his Parents – “…He is a real “child of Cinema”. Nagkaisip siya sa paligid ng mga movie cameras, mga klieg lights at sa pagbabalatkayo. Musmos pa lamang siya ay nandoon na siya sa harap ng kamera, halos walang malay na gumaganap bilang Little Ronnie Poe, Little Joseph Estrada, Little So and So. Si Jay Ilagan ay anak ng dating aktres na si Corazon Noble at ang dating aktor na si Angel Esmeralda. Acting runs in his blood. Kaya Jay really had no choice but to follow in the footsteps of his parents and his relatives…Every experience in life helps me in playing movie roles,” nasabi noon ni Jay. Experience, ika nga, is the best teacher. Lahat ng mahuhusay nating artista ngayon have in one way or another, at one time in their lives, also gone through sad and bitter experiences. Naging mahirap din ang transition period ni Jay, specially when he reached the age of 14 or 15. Too young to be an adult actor and yet too old to be a child actor, that was the dilemma. Pero Jay survived that period. Habang hinihintay niya ang kanyang paglaki at pagma-mature, nakisali na rin siya sa mga pelikulang kantahan, sayawan at kung anu-ano pang mga wala namang katuturan. “Jay is a flexible actor,” says a respected director. “Meaning, okey na okey siya bilang Kenkoy; okey na okey rin siya sa drama. Maski aksyon, pupuwede siya…” – Jingle Extra Hot Movie Entertainment Magazine, April 27, 1981 (READ MORE)

Jay Ilagan born Julius Abad Ilagan on January 20, 1953 in Manila. Son of Sampaguita Pictures leading lady Corazon Noble and director Angel Esmeralda, he started as a child actor in the Philippine cinema. A matinée idol, he hosted “Stop, Look and Listen” and starred in My Son, My Son and Goin’ Bananas. He died from motorcycle accident in February, 1992 (Wikipilipinas).

Jay Ilagan and Vilma Santos

Jay Ilagan and Vilma Santos started their career as child stars. Their first film was in a Joseph Estrada-Barbara Perez starrer. They follow this up when they’re already in their teens in 1970s’ musical era. Both can’t sing but was able to maintain popularity against the singing sensations like Edgar Mortiz who became the other person in some of their teen love triangle films. After a few musicals, some fantasy and comedy films, they reunited finally as adult actors in Borlaza’s Coed in 1979. Overall, they produced eleven films before his untimely death in 1992 from a motorcyle accident (reminiscent of his scene in one of Vi-Jay movie, Paano Ba Ang Mangarap).

Sister Stella L (1984) – “…Sa pagkamatay ni Ninoy, ang napagbuhusan namin ng panahon nina Mike at Ding ay isang documentary na pinamagatang Signos at ang pelikulang Sister Stella L. Isang kanta mula sa binabalak na Brechtian zarzuela ang ginamit na isa sa mga theme songs ng Sister Stella L: ang “Aling Pag-ibig Pa,” na binigyang-tinig ni Pat Castillo sa pelikula at sa plaka. Nang ipalabas ang Sister Stella L. sa 1984 Venice International Film Festival, ang pamagat nito ay Sangandaan (Incroci sa Italyano, Crossroad sa Ingles). Pinagtiyap na sa unang storyline ay Sister Corazon de Jesus ang pangalan ni Sister Stella L. Ang nasa isip ko noon ay hindi si Corazon Aquino, kundi ang Sagrado Corazon de Jesus…” – Pete Lacaba (READ MORE)

Paano Ba Ang Mangarap (1983) – “…A true blooded Vilmanian will not forget the time when a teaser (a very brief movie trailer – around 20 seconds) was shown to the theatres in the summer of 1983. It was Viva films’ “Paano Ba Ang Mangarap?” Another box office hit from Vilma Santos and Christopher DeLeon. The teaser (almost worth the whole movie ticket) was the scene where Lisa, played by Vilma discovered that her son (to Eric’s brother, Jay Ilagan) was gone courtesy of her evil rich mother-in-law (Armida Sigueon Reyna). Here’s the lines and the explosive acting of the Queen. The scene: After running around looking for the baby in all the rooms in second floor of of this huge mansion, Lisa confronted Eric who were stunned to find Lisa’s hysterics. Lisa: “Dinaya n’yo ako! Saan n’yo dinala ang anak ko?!!!” Eric: “Hindi ko alam!” Lisa: “Hindi mo alam…Sinungaling!” Eric: “Lisa, makinig ka muna…” Lisa: “Kasabwat ka ng ina mo! Alam ko matagal n’yo nang plano ito!” Eric: “Ano bang pinagsasabi mo?” Lisa: “Dinaya n’yo ako! Mga Traydor Kayo! Traydor kayong lahat!” Eric: “Lisa, huminahon ka baka mapaano ang bata!” Lisa: “Wala akong pakialam! Ibalik mo sa akin si Jun Jun! Ibalik mo sa akin ang anak ko! Ibalik mo sa akin si Jun Jun! Ibalik mo sa akin…AHHHH (mahuhulog sa hagdanan)” Just this scene alone, Vilma should be rewarded that year’s best actress award! Bravo!…” – RV (READ MORE)

Coed (1979) – “…Mula sa VS Films at Bancom Audiovision Films ang pelikulang Coed (January 25, 1979) ay nagtatampok kina Vi, Jay Ilagan, Delia Razon, Allan Valenzuela, Romeo Enriquez, Romeo Rivera, Jun Soler, Angge, Jojo Santiago at Rosemarie Sarita sa panulat at iskrip ni Allan Jayme Rabaza at direksiyon ni Emmanuel H. Borlaza…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Karugtong Ng Kahapon (1975) – “…Vilma Santos, on the other hand, gave a notable performance in Roma Films’ Karugtong ang Kahapon. That time, Nora and Vilma were in their peak, their career and the movies they made were being followed closely, compared, watched, praised, scrutinized both by fans and critics. Their storied and fierce rivalry dominated our movie industry for years…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Ang Hiwaga ni Mariang Cinderella (1973) – “…Besides teaming up with Edgar Mortiz during her teen years, Vilma Santos also starred and appeared in many movies opposite other leading men…Jay Ilagan – Ang Hiwaga ni Maria Cinderella (1973)……” – Simon Santos (READ MORE)

Tsismosang Tindera (1973) – “…Tampok sina Vi, Jay Ilagan, Ike Lozada, German Moreno, Chanda Romero, Beth Manlongat, Romy Miranda, Baby Alcaraz at Angelito sa pelikula ng Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions na idinerek ni Emmanuel H. Borlaza…..”ang inilalako ay bilasang isda at sariwang balita!…..” Tsismosang Tindera (February 2, 1973)…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma (1972) – “…Si Nick Romano ay nakakuha ng FAMAS best supporting actor sa pelikulang Tatlong Mukha Ni Rosa Vilma (1972) at nakasama ni Vi sa mga pelikulang Tatlong Mukha Ni Rosa Vilma (1972), Anak Ng Asuwang (1973), Wonder Vi (1973), Vilma & The Beep Beep Minica (1974), Phantom Lady (1974), Ibong Lukaret (1975) at Ikaw Ay Akin (1978)….” – Jess P. S. (READ MORE)

Ang Konduktora (1972) – “…Santos made fourteen films, mostly forgettable musicals. It was also a year where her benefactor started to positioned her as more of a film actress than a singing film star. The results was successful experiments that showcased her comedic ability (Ang Kundoktora), screaming action stunts (Takbo Vilma Dali) and dramatic capability (Dama De Noche). Her followers was delighted when she earned her first acting recognition the next year receiving the FAMAS best actress via Dama De Noche. Most of her films in 1972 were directed by Emmanuel Borlaza however, she was able to do one film with Ishmael Bernal, “Inspiration” with the late Jay Ilagan, one of her regular film partner. According to Bernal, the film wasn’t as successful as what he expected, as the film flopped. Aside from Inspiration, Bernal did two other films, El Vibora (starring Vic Vargas and Boots Anson Roa) and Till Death Do Us Part (starring the young Hilda Koronel and Victor Laurel)…” – RV (READ MORE)

Leron Leron Sinta (1972) – “…Ang christmas at new year’s presentation ng Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions na nagtatampok kina Vi, Edgar Mortiz, Jay Ilagan, Florence Aguilar, Lilian Laing, Beth Monlongat, Ruben Tizon at Angelito at ito ay ang Leron Leron Sinta (December 23, 1972). Ito ay sa iskrip ni Nestor U. Torre Jr. at sa direksiyon ni Emmanuel H. Borlaza…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Remembrance (1972) – “…Remembrance,” another film musical, was chosen “best musical” in the Manila Film Festival. The film stars Vilma Santos (Wilear’) and Edgar Mortiz (Wilear’s). The film also won in the categories of best film editing, best sound and best script…” – Oskar Salazar (READ MORE)

Inspiration (1972) – “…In a musical era of 1970s, “Inspiration” was quite an experimental film, with no musical numbers, better screenplay, well-written characters. Nestor and Bernal works well in establishing the character of Jay and Vilma. Their dialouges are not “corny” and very realistic. There is no over the top dramatic scenes inserted between musical numbers. The parent played wonderfully by Merle Tuazon and Carlos Salazar were convincing. Although both Vilma and Jay played their roles effectively, Lilian Laing steals the film as Lola Jane. She was bubly and funny, a sex-starved, karate black belter, polo game afficianado, who loves life and considering she playing the old grandma who is also the solution to all the complication in life…” – RV (READ MORE)

Ito Ang Pilipino (1967) – “…In 1966, Estrada was “just” an actor portraying a bandit fighting the Spaniards, led by Eddie Garcia. Directed by Cesar “Chat” Gallardo, an important scene in the film featured the late Vic Silayan telling the young Estrada that he would be the country’s next president-to which, Estrada’s character answered in disbelief, saying it was impossible, because he could neither read nor write! Prophetically, the historical film presaged the actor’s political career. Who would have known that he’d become the 13th president of the Philippines?! At the screening, Estrada’s leading lady, Barbara Perez, who was first seen in 195’6′s “Chabacano,” was in the audience to watch the “lost” film revived by the Society of Filipino Archivists for Film (SOFIA). The actress shares: “Back then, I kept getting in and out show biz, especially when I had to give birth!…” – Rica Arevalo (READ MORE)

Related Reading: